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Friday Favorites: Exotic Destinations

Please don’t give up on me!  This has been a busy week of birthday parties, working on the stop-procrastinating-Amy-get-it-done-now list, and all the other little things that tend to pop up.  Thank you to those faithful readers who still checked in for my weekly posts.  I’m still here!!

As you know from my last posting, I’m trying to find a summer destination.  I have been looking all over, debating and torn, trying to find a fun and new place to explore.  Just for kicks, I checked out one of my favorite blogs The Cool Hunter and found these amazing exotic treasure spots around the world.  Places that seem dreamlike!!  Maybe they will inspire me to finally pick a spot!  Have a look at my “Friday Favorites” exotic destinations around the globe…

Marble Caves, Chile Chico, Chile

Restaurant near Sanyou Cave above the Chang Jiang river, Hubei , China

Madeira, Portugal

Sky Lantern Festival – Taiwan

Keukenhof Gardens – Netherlands

Rice Field Terraces in Yunnan, China

Riomaggiore, Italy

Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver, British Columbia

Benteng Chittorgarh, India

Aiguill e du midi, Chamonix, France

The Pearl Waterfall, Jiuzhaigou Valley, China

If you get a chance, check out this “cool” website.  The Cool Hunter searches the globe for awesome discoveries in every genre and it continues to inspire me in so many ways.  It might do the same for you!  If you’re a Pinster, you might just start pinning away.

Have you heard or traveled to a place you find exotic?  My exotic spot is a park on the East River in Queens that has 5 very large hammocks that overlook Manhattan’s majestic skyline.  Laying on those hammocks at night with the dazzling Manhattan view in the background feels exotic in my tiny world!  If you have an exotic spot and would like to share it, I would love to hear about it.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Until next ride,

Amy

Vacationing: Kids or No Kids?

Illustration by Adrienne Hedger

In the past, I would point my finger anywhere on the globe and just take off.  It didn’t matter how long the flight was, or the number of days I was gone (well to an extent), or how long I stayed out in the evenings, or the activities I did during the day or the minor bumps that came along with traveling.  There were no restrictions.  And, a beach vacation was exactly what it was meant to be; no recollection of time, sprawled out on a beach blanket, nursing several nearby pina coladas, shades on, eyes closed, toes buried in the sand and waves crashing inches away.  So simple, so easy, so carefree.  A real vacation.

This year things aren’t so simple and there is a tough lingering question.  That question it not how many bathing suits should I bring, or which restaurants and lounges are in the area, or what activities can we do, or what drinks will be offered poolside.  The difficult mother question is, should we take Madison or not?  Am I ready to leave our 14 month old for almost two weeks?  Will she be traumatized?  Will I?

My 10 thoughts on not bringing children, or Madison, on vacation…

1)  Will Madison be distraught if we leave her behind?  She breaks down the moment the babysitter enters the apartment and doesn’t stop until bedtime!

2)  The poor grandparents!  Will they be able to handle a 14 month old, who is teething, for almost two weeks?  Will they ever want to come back?

3)  Vacation = Relaxation.  Will I truly be able to relax wondering about Maddie a 14 hour flight away?

4)  No checking out this year!  Need to get international service.  I will definitely need daily check-ins and maybe a messaged picture or two.

5)  Reservations about a 14 hour flight.  The last time I flew I was 6 months pregnant, having back pain, Maddie was hanging-out on my sciatic nerve and I was dealing with those other unmentionables, that all women can relate to, during pregnancy!

6)  However!  We will have freedom to stay out as late as we want!  I know there’s life past 7pm.  Lets find it!

7)  All the pina coladas, margaritas and sangria I want!  Reliving carefree days.

8)  Lets kick start that spark!!  Gets a little dim when everything revolves around kids.  We know it’s there!  Just needs a little Santorini fuel.

9)  No diapers, no clean up, no laundry, no temper tantrums.  Looking better and better!

10) I think we both need some adult time!

I vote, No Kids!  Will Madison need child therapy in the end, no, and will mommy need to turn to countless sangrias, no, well maybe just a couple.  Even though traveling used to be easier, the things that made it easy before don’t seem to be as important now.   So what, if I have to check my luggage rather than have easy breezy carry on.  So what, if our transportation is running late to pick us up.  So what, if we don’t get the check-in time we wanted.  What matters is time together, either as a family or as that so-needed couples time.  Things for us have definitely changed, our worries have changed and our needs have changed, but changed for the better.

Are you taking a self-needed vacation this year and leaving someone or something behind?  My girlfriend is taking a vacation and leaving her cell phone and technology behind.  Now that’s tough!  How about you?

Until next ride,

Amy

It’s Here! It’s Here!

We have been checking the mail for the last two years anxiously awaiting, not giving up hope, and blaming the poor mailman!  Here is an example of our evening conversations, after checking the mail, over this long awaited time…

Dean: Did it arrive Amy?

Amy:  Not today, honey…

Dean: Do you think they’ll really publish it?

Amy:  I hope so, but not sure…

Dean: Should you check on it?

Amy:  I have been…

Dean: Ok, we probably won’t recognize ourselves once it does get published, because we’ll be so old!

Amy:  Speak for yourself!  I plan on looking the same as I did on our wedding day 20 years from now!  {well, that’s what I thought before I had a baby :) }

Dean: Of course honey :)

Drum roll…trumpets please…announcement…it’s here!  Two years in the making, or two years of Amy following up so we don’t get lost in the wedding paper shuffle, is our debut in Melbourne Bride Destination!  We were hoping for a tiny spot in the corner, but to our surprise, got four pages!!  It’s an Aussie magazine, so tough to get your hands on, since they don’t mail out of Australia.  But, so cool to know we are in a magazine!  Probably my first and last time in a magazine, so I’m going to dwell in it for a while.  Here it is…take a peek…

Looking at these pictures and reading the write-up brings back so many fun and happy memories with family and friends.  I feel like I could do it all over again…

I can’t believe we have been married for two years already.  How time flies, especially with a 14 month old.  And, your calculations are correct.  Maddie blessed us shortly after we were married.  Celebrating our one year anniversary, at home, with our three week old daughter could not have made the first year of marriage more memorable.  She is truly the icing on the cake, no wedding pun intended!

Is there something you hold onto, or have, that reminds you of a special time?  I would love to hear about it.

Until next ride,

Amy

 

Fun Fourth Favorites

Happy 4th of July everyone!  What a fun time to plan family and friend gatherings, hitting the nearest fireworks show, or heading out of town.  We all get busy; therefore, I love to keep things simple – quick and easy!  One of my favorite magazines is Real Simple.  They always have lots of easy, fun, creative ideas that anyone can do.  It’s my go-to stress free guide!!!  This year we’re going to Mystic, Connecticut for some family fun, but if we were celebrating at home these would be my simple favorite picks for the 4th of July!  (Click on the pictures for more info from Real Simple)

1. Red, White and Blue Cocktails for the adults!  What’s a 4th without drinks!!!

Cocktails

2. A fun drink for the kids and everyone else.  Mix different types of fruit with anything – even water!

Drinks for everyone

3. Don’t forget the snacks!  A simple and festive idea.

Snacks

4. There’s always something delicious on the grill.  Kabobs are easy and fun!  Love this honey glazed chicken idea with grilled corn.  Cook them both at the same time.  Yummy, easy, and quick!

Honey chicken skewers

5. Everyone will be waiting for a light refreshing dessert!

Dessert

6. Dessert or Snack!  Everyone loved these berry marshmallow kabobs when I made them for Maddie’s party!  With the colors, they look very 4th of July.   My shot doesn’t compare to the pictures above but you can get the idea.

7. Lets keep the kids happy, having fun and busy!  Making pom-poms is easy to do, only a few supplies are needed, and they can use them all day.

Kid's project

 

Do you have some fun creative ideas for the 4th of July?  I could always use more great ideas!  Enjoy your 4th everyone!!!

Until next ride,

Amy

Healthiest Meal on Earth – Verdict Is In!

 

Healthiest Meal On Earth worth eating or not?  Is it satisfying?  Does it taste good?  Would we eat it again?  Verdict, please!

It’s been in the news the last few weeks, online and in the magazines.  I was intrigued when I read the headline Healthiest Meal on Earth and then thought, ‘it must not taste very good.’  I started to read through the ingredients; there was salmon, which I could eat everyday if I really wanted to, and lentil, yogurt, walnuts, chicken, and caramel.  Really, caramel?   Don’t judge too fast, this meal might have possibilities!  We could be onto something here.

Could my taste buds accept something so healthy?  I usually assume healthy is less flavorful and boring, so healthiest in the world must mean, zero flavor!  I think?  However, I was intrigued by the title and it didn’t seem too terrible to try.  Would my husband get excited over lentil, veggies, and then yogurt for dessert, a good guess is no, but decided to give it a shot!

Here it is, the almost healthiest meal in the world!  I included everything except for the chicken, which was suppose to be in the lentil, so our healthiest meal in the world lacked a little protein.  I just didn’t get a chance to make the chicken, no other reason why.  I had gone to the grocery store late, Maddie was getting restless in the stroller, my basket was getting very heavy, I needed to get home, and the chicken was at the other end of the store!  It might not seem far, but when you have a hungry restless toddler, the end of the isle seems far!

The meal is actually very quick to make, especially since salmon cooks in just a few minutes (click here for recipe).  I added a squeeze of lemon for flavor to the salmon and used olive oil as salad dressing.  Looking at my finished product, I probably could have dressed-up the plate and dessert bowl a little with a few garnishes.  I’ll have to remember that for next time!  I always think presentation of a meal and table setting can make mealtime fun and inviting and adds conversation.  I really like table settings with lots of color (you know how I like color! ) from placemats, napkins, candles and flowers, and don’t forget, the food and drinks add color as well!  In the picture above, I used colored placemats and napkins, and I quickly put a couple purple flowers in a small vase, and wallah, done!

The verdict is in!!  Dean and I really enjoyed the meal.  There was a nice variety of food and a tasty dessert!  At first, I didn’t think I would be able to eat so much food, however at the end of the meal (I ate everything!) our taste buds and stomachs felt satisfied, not stuffed!  There was a nice amount of flavor from the salmon with lemon, the vegetables with mixed greens felt light and fresh, and I’m sure a squirt of lemon on the salad would have been palate pleasing as well.  I really like lentil, but I think Dean could have done without it.  The yogurt dessert with caramel was d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s!  Overall, we both enjoyed the meal and would have it again!

Have you tried the healthiest meal in the world?  If so, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Until next ride,

Amy

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